hooded boxer with lights and gumshield

Difference Between Night Guards and Mouth Guards

We’ve heard a few names for the plastic thing people wear to protect their teeth during physical activities or sleep. If you or your children are involved in contact sports, or if you ever feel jaw pain especially after sleep, we’ll clear up the differences between night guards and mouth guards for you. And we’ll help you decide which one you need.

What is a Night Guard?

An occlusal splint is commonly called a dental guard, night guard or bite guard. It is used to protect your teeth while you sleep. Most dentists recommend night guards to patients who grind their teeth, which is often as a result of stress or anxiety. When someone habitually grinds his or her teeth, it is called bruxism, a very common condition that affects 10% of people and as many as 15% of children. Grinding your teeth can ruin enamel, increase tooth sensitivity and chip your teeth. Too much grinding and clenching of the jaw can result in a condition of the jaw called TMJ, which can sometimes require surgery.

Close-up shot of doctors hands in gloves holding silicone mouth guard. Teeth care

Do you or your children ever wake up with jaw pain or think you might be grinding your teeth? Schedule a consultation with your dentist to discuss getting a custom-fit night guard. In just one visit, we can evaluate your grinding habits and take an impression of your smile. Some of our offices can even make your night guard in their own lab! In about 1-2 weeks, you’ll have your night guard and be sleeping easier.

What is a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard is a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, lips and gums. The American Dental Association recommends wearing a mouth guard for many sports played in the fall and winter:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Field Hockey
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Rugby
  • Volleyball
  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Ultimate Frisbee

Custom mouth guards are recommended over store-bought, and do more than just protect your teeth. According to one study, “high school football players wearing store-bought mouth guards were more than twice as likely to suffer mild traumatic brain injuries than those wearing properly fitted, custom mouth guards.” Ask your dentist to make a dental impression for you, which will be sent off to a lab that produces mouth guards or made in one of our office’s labs.

Photo sports mouth guard and medical capacitor on a white background

Rethink Your Drink

Do you love sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks or fruit juice?

It’s time to rethink your drink.

According to a major study, “the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet—and that was true regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index.” And what accounts for one third of the added sugar in an average American diet? Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and fruit juice. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages doesn’t just make you gain weight, it can also increase your risk of heart, tooth and gum disease. 

 

Health Effects of Sugary Drinks

You’ve probably had a discussion about possible health effects of artificial sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup by now. Drinking sugary drinks can lead to diabetes, hypertension and some types of cancer, but it can also have severe side effects on your teeth. Sugary drinks eat away at the enamel of teeth, causing teeth to become weaker and thinner. This can lead to tooth decay and inevitably cavities. This is why dentists often put sealants on back teeth, so that they can prevent cavities and avoid fillings.

If you’re looking to make a little change, the CDC has a great guide here that’ll show you just how much sugar is in your favorite sugar-sweetened drinks. Keep reading for healthy drink options you can make at home, plus easy tips to remember from the American Heart Association.

 

Healthy Drink Options You Can Make At Home

For a bunch of great healthy drink options you can make at home, be sure to follow the “Rethink Your Drink” board on the Mortenson Family Dental Pinterest here!

Fruit Infused Water on the  wooden table.

Lemon Cucumber Water

This has to be the easiest recipe of all time. Slice lemons and cucumbers and place them in a glass of ice water. But there are some healthy effects of lemon cucumber water you might not know:

  • Helps you stay hydrated
  • Provides you with a healthy dose of Vitamin C
  • Gives you a boost of Potassium
  • Helps Prevent Kidney Stones

Blueberry Lime Water

Blueberries are often called a superfood because they’re low in calories but high in Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. They may even reduce the risk of heart disease. Limes are good for your eyes,  skin, gums, weight loss and digestion. Put them together and you’ve got a delicious way to hydrate!

  • 2 cups of water or sparkling water
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 1/2 limes sliced

 

Go on GREEN today

RED: Drink Rarely, If At All

  • Regular sodas
  • Energy or sports drinks
  • Sweetened coffee/tea drinks
  • Fruit drinks

Yellow: Drink Occasionally

  • Diet Soda
  • Low-calorie, low-sugar drinks
  • 100% juice

Green: Drink Plenty

  • Water
  • Seltzer Water
  • 1% or Skim Milk

Rethink Your Drink poster - all text is reprinted in article

National Brush Day and Mortenson Family Dental logos over photos of children celebrating Halloween and brushing their teeth

National Brush Day 2016

November 1 is more than just the day after Halloween. It’s also National Brush Day, when we remind ourselves to brush twice daily and help educate our children on the importance of dental hygiene. In addition to other healthy habits, brushing 2 times for 2 minutes every day helps reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Brush 2min2x

Teaching good dental hygiene to our children is especially important, so that they can make brushing twice part of their daily routine. According to Psychology Today, habits that develop early in life can be very difficult to change — so helping your children understand the importance of dental hygiene will transition into keeping healthy habits as an adult.

The Children’s Oral Health campaign encourages parents to reduce their children’s risk of oral disease by making sure they’re brushing for two minutes, twice a day. Their website, 2min2x.org, has plenty of educational and fun resources to help parents out, including these easy Tooth To-Dos:

  • Use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste for kids ages 3-6, and use slightly more when they’re older.
  • Teach them to spit out the toothpaste when they’re done so they don’t swallow it.
  • Help your kids place the toothbrush at an angle against their gums.
  • Make sure they move the brush back and forth, gently, in short strokes.
  • Help them brush the front, back, and top of teeth.
  • Teach them to brush their tongue to remove germs and freshen breath.

For more tips, be sure to read Colgate’s Teeth Brushing For Kids: Three Strategies For Proper Technique.

Show Your Support

If you’d like to show your support for #NationalBrushDay, there are plenty of ways to get involved on social media.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer - American Cancer Society

Join us for Making Strides of Louisville – October 30th

The Making Strides of Louisville walk is this Saturday, October 30th, at Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentucky. Registration opens at 11:00 am and the walk begins at 1:00 pm. Feel free to register under Team Mortenson! Click here to register.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and it is the second leading cause of death for women. But there are also over 2 million survivors of breast cancer in the United States, thanks to the work of groups like the American Cancer Society to fund life saving research. We are proud to join the American Cancer Society this weekend to support the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.

How Donations Save Lives

The American Cancer Society has been saving lives for more than a century. Every day, 500 lives that would have otherwise been lost to cancer are saved. None of it would be possible without the generosity of donors like you. Your dollars help us to help people now who are fighting breast cancer in every community, while working to free the world from the pain and suffering of breast cancer tomorrow.

  • Promoting Prevention and Early Detection
  • Supporting Patients in their Recovery
  • Pursuing Lifesaving Treatments
  • Fighting Back
  • Learn more

 

 

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